How do you measure the success of your employee benefits program? If you’re like 62 percent of the employers responding to MetLife’s annual benefits trends survey, enrollment rates are your criteria of choice. After all, even the best benefits package will fail at increasing employee engagement and decreasing turnover if too few of your workers take advantage of it.
Fortunately, many experts agree that better benefits communication is the best way to improve enrollment rate. Prudential recently conducted its “Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits” and discovered several communication methods that employees continue to prefer above the rest.
- Work Email – Forty-seven percent of the employees Prudential surveyed said work email was their preferred benefits communication method.
- Personal Email – Personal email was the preferred benefits communication method of 28 percent of the surveyed employees.
- In-Person – Traditional group meetings and one-on-one meetings were the preferred benefits communication method of 18 percent and 19 percent of surveyed employees, respectively.
The employers Prudential surveyed had slightly different views on the subject. Communications methods with which they’ve had the “greatest success” included group meetings and seminars (74 percent), individual one-on-one meetings (72 percent), email (68 percent), toll-free phone number (61 percent), and mail at home (60 percent).
During open enrollment periods, 21 percent of employers noted that they had the most success with communicating benefits through mail at home. Eighteen percent had success with videos and DVD presentations, while social media networking also delivered results (16 percent).
As more employers move to a year-round communication strategy, rather than just talking about benefits during the open enrollment period, 84 percent said they plan to do so through email. This was followed by home mailing (77 percent), benefits websites (76 percent), phone calls (75 percent), and text messages (46 percent).
Based on Prudential’s data, it appears that employers who want to improve their enrollment rates would be wise to choose a mix of communication methods to suit the preferences of their employees. Surveying your own workforce is the most direct way to determine a specific course of action. While younger workers may be more comfortable with learning about their options through email, Baby Boomers or those who want additional insight may prefer the opportunity to attend group or individual meetings.
Regardless of the benefits communication method you choose, the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that you also:
- Ensure your benefits information is easy to understand. This means providing jargon-free details on available options so employees have the information they need to make educated choices.
- Personalize the benefits information to each employee’s needs.
- Provide your employees with an opportunity to talk with a benefits expert—in person or by phone—while on company time.
As the 2015 open enrollment period approaches, now is the time to make changes to your benefits communication process and earn increases in that enrollment rate. If you’d like further assistance, please contact your benefits advisor today.